Your transferable skills, otherwise known as your “motivated skills” can be found at the crossover point between the skills you enjoy using and the skills you’re competent at using.

It’s important to understand what your transferable skills are and how to sell them. Particilarly if you’re looking for a career change and you need to express why you’re suitable for a new role or industry that you haven’t worked in before.

Links I mentioned in this episode:

12. Understanding your transferable skills – Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:00:29] Hello hello. It is Bec McFarland here helping you do better and be better in your career. The topic for today is all about understanding your transferable skills. Ooh, I think this is just such a brilliant topic and something that is really widely underutilized. So I’m very happy to be here talking to you about this today.

[00:00:59] In my [00:01:00] career coaching practice, most of my career coaching clients will undertake a few different tests when they start with me. And one of my favorite tests to use is called motivated skills or is otherwise known as your transferable skills. So this test was created by a fellow called Richard Nodell and he has got his website career planner, where you as a member of the general public can go ahead and purchase credits to undertake his tests or myself as a career coach can actually administer those from an admin perspective and send links to my clients and then I have an admin portal to be able to get the results. That is all besides the point.

[00:01:43] So the reason that I love this test is that it tells us lots of different things about an individual, and these things can be utilized to make some really great decisions about next steps in careers and stuff like that.

[00:01:59] One of the things [00:02:00] that I really appreciate about this test is that it does help my clients to understand what their transferable skills are, so that we can really think about what direction they’re headed in their career and how they are going about it. So when we look at Richard’s test, the motivated skills test, what it’s actually measuring is what the skills are that you really enjoy using versus the skills that you absolutely hate using and everywhere on a spectrum in between. And then it also looks at the crossover point, which is the skills that you are really good at using versus the skills that maybe you need a little bit more development with. And when we look at the skills that you are really great at using that you also really, really love, this is what Richard calls your motivated skills or as I mentioned, otherwise known as your [00:03:00] transferable skills.

[00:03:01] Now it might make sense, right? We’ve talked a little bit about flow before. And one of the things that I love about flow is that, you know, when we get into that flow space or head space. It is really because of the fact that we are doing stuff that we are good at and stuff that we enjoy.

[00:03:20] You know, this is really where we want to be spending the majority of our time. But the problem is that a lot of us are not. We’re going to talk a little bit more about that in the next episode, but today I want to tell you a little bit more about why understanding your motivated skills or your transferable skills is so, so important and how you can actually use this information.

[00:03:45] So firstly, getting the results of this test can help you to just gain a little bit of clarity. Most of the stuff you probably already know, right? Like if I was to ask you the question, what are the tasks that you really, really enjoy [00:04:00] doing, or the skills that you really, really enjoy using? Most people would probably have like a bit of an idea at least. Same if I asked you, like, what are the things that you’re really good at? Or what are the things that maybe you need a bit more of development in?

[00:04:14] Most people would generally be able to give a bit of an idea, but one of the things that I like about this test, which is actually a card sort test, it means that you are looking at those things in isolation, you are categorizing them based on how confident you feel or how much you enjoy them.

[00:04:34] And then we’re able to pull out that information at the end and use it for lots of different things in your career. The first thing that springs to mind, or one of the ways that I often use this information with my clients is in the way that they go ahead and sell themselves. So, what we often do is focus in our job applications and in our [00:05:00] interviews on talking about the things that we are good at, but we may not necessarily give as much consideration to the things that we’re really good at, that we also really enjoy. And this can lead to so much unfulfillment because we are effectively selling skills that we don’t really want to use. As I said, we will talk a little bit more about that in the next episode, but I think it is important to understand that we really want to make sure that we are positioning ourselves to sell the skills that we really want to use as well as the ones that we are good at so that we can make sure that we are feeling far more fulfilled by the work that we’re doing.

[00:05:41] This information can be used in job applications, in resumes, and also in your interviews. When you are talking about the skills that you have proven throughout your career, when you’re providing examples of things that you have done throughout your work history. I would be [00:06:00]focusing on selling those ones that you want to be using in your next role.

[00:06:05] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at

[00:06:25] Another way that I use the results from this test with my coaching clients is actually helping them find clarity around what their next step in their career is going to be. So a lot of the clients that come to me are actually coming to me because they are looking for a career change. Honestly, this has actually become so much more common since the pandemic began.

[00:06:49] I think because the fact that we all spent so much time at home and, you know, we were able to spend more time reflecting and considering what was going on in our [00:07:00] lives that you know, so many more people are starting to think about what’s really lighting them up and what they’re feeling fulfilled by. This means that I’m getting so many more clients who are coming to me and saying, you know, I know that I’m not meant to be doing what I’m doing at the moment.

[00:07:17] I’m feeling like my soul is calling out for something else, but I just don’t know what it is yet. And often I’ll say to people like, you know, do you have any idea what it might be like? Is there any kind of niggling or, you know, internal feeling or anything that’s giving you like a message about which direction you might want to head in?

[00:07:40] And at the moment, the response that I’m getting is regularly that they have no idea at all. So you can imagine that having this list of motivated skills or transferable skills is a really great starting point because it effectively sucks out all of that [00:08:00] information that you’ve got inside of you and puts it down in black and white on a sheet of paper that you can refer back to and that you can see visually.

[00:08:10] What we can then do is have a look at what the motivated skills or transferable skills are and then start to have a think about, you know, what careers would these skills be utilized in, which types of organizations out there really appreciate these types of skills sets?

[00:08:29] Now, of course, it is just one of the tools that I use when it comes to these clarity, seeking situations in helping people to try and understand where to next, but it is really, really useful. And again, once they understand where they want to head next, then we go back and we use the information in the way that we actually package their skills. The way that they start to tell stories about their experience and then in the way that they begin to sell themselves to future [00:09:00] employers.

[00:09:01] Now finally, one of the other things that this test tells us, in addition to telling us about your motivated skills is that it also gives insights into your development areas. Now you might be thinking, ‘yeah, okay, like my development areas are the things that I’m really crap at’ and in a way like you would be right.

[00:09:22] But specifically in this test, we are looking at the skills that you really enjoy using that you also may find that you need some development in, right? Because there’s no point in just focusing on all of the skills that need to be developed, because we don’t want to be developing those skills that you don’t really enjoy using. That’s not the career path that you want to start to head down.

[00:09:48] So I love this test because it does outline for you those skills that you really, really love using that you would like to spend more time using, but that maybe you need a little bit of [00:10:00]help with. And I think this can be really great because it helps you to put together a bit of a professional development plan. Helps you to start thinking like, is there formal or informal training that I should do? You know, are there books that might be available? Could I go online? Find like a short online course or a blog post or some other resource that might help me to build my skills and my capability in this area.

[00:10:25] And for me, I always as well look at the ways that my clients and myself, that we can work on developing the skills that we are already really good at because in a strengths based leadership approach, we are always taking that opinion that if we continue to work on the stuff that we are really good at, then the rest of the stuff will improve naturally.

[00:10:51] Has this episode got you thinking? Are you starting to think about what your motivated skills might be? As I said, you can obviously go [00:11:00] across to and go ahead and complete the test. I can’t remember exactly how much it is, but it’ll be under about 20 bucks or something. It’s not super expensive.

[00:11:11] By all means, you know, you can go over there and start exploring the motivated skills test. And I’ll put the link for that into the show notes as well, just so that you can access it if you want. But I would just also like to put the offer out there that if you would like to work with a career coach to unpack some of this stuff, whether that be specifically around your motivated skills or perhaps more around the clarity piece, what to do next in your career and how to actually bring that into fruition or reality, or even, you know, just helping you to understand, like, what are you really good at? What do you really enjoy? I would love to help you so you can head along to my website, go to and book yourself a time into my calendar.

[00:11:56] I offer free 15 minute consultations where you can have a little bit of a [00:12:00] chat about your current career situation, about where perhaps you want to go if you already know, and also just to get a feel of whether we would be a good fit to work together. So that offer is always available. It’s You can go ahead and access my calendar and book yourself in for one of those 15 minute sessions.

[00:12:21] Have a beautiful week. It’s been really great talking to you about your motivated skills. And I really hope that it has given you a little bit of a nudge to start thinking about what your motivated skills might be.

[00:12:35] Have an amazing week.

[00:12:36] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you want to continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at [00:13:00] Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.


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About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.